Students have approved a referendum to make several changes to the constitution of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU). The decision to make the amendments to the union’s governing document passed by a margin of 84% to 16%. Yannick Gloster, chair of the Union’s electoral commission, announced the results in an email statement this evening.
A total of 539 students voted in favour of the proposal with 100 students voting against. There were also 13 spoiled votes. All of Trinity’s approximately 18,000 students were eligible to vote in the referendum, including postgraduates.
The changes to the TCDSU constitution are due to be put into immediate effect, with plans to update the union website over the weekend.
The referendum was billed by Union insiders as an opportunity to “clean up” the constitution, with the proposers pointing to typos, inconsistencies, and errors in the document.
However, the amendments also contained some more substantial changes to the way in which the union operates. For example, adjustments to the role of Officer for Students with Disabilities that will mean any student holding this position must be a student that identifies as having a disability. Previously, any member of the union could hold that position.
Motions of impeachment will now take place under a secret ballot under the changes. Adjustments will also be made to the role of the Oversight Commission (OC), with all members being allowed to speak at council as opposed to just the secretary.
Under the amendments, the Union Forum’s (UF) vote in council would be removed. UF is generally not a decision-making body except for its annual approval of the University Times (UT) budget. Members of the UF will only have to meet with TCDSU officers “as needed”, as opposed to the current requirement that they meet weekly.
Other reforms include procedural changes to the role of Chair of Council, increased capacity on the OC, and stipulating that no person shall be nominated to more than one position on the same committee.
Voting for this referendum took place online, similar to Union class rep elections and meetings of the Union Council that have been held since the introduction of Coronavirus restrictions.
Voting ran for three days, having opened at 9am on Monday and closed and 4pm this evening (Friday).